Discussions concerning on the future of the US led- Iceland Defense Force revolve around dollars and cents reports television station Stöd 2. How much it costs to defend the country is the big question says Stöd 2.
The two delegations will meet today in Washington to continue negotiations concerning the jurisdiction of the Icelandic authorities and the defense force, and the finances of the base in Keflavík.
According to Stöd 2 three years have passed since the US delegation told the Icelandic government that changes were needed regarding the operation of the Naval Air Station in Keflavik. Since then the two countries have held ongoing unsuccessful discussions.
Stöd 2 quotes Deputy Chief of Mission, Philip S. Kosnett, saying that Iceland is not the same country it was in 1951. The Keflavík airport is more a civilian airport than a military airport and Iceland is a much richer country than in was in 1951. Kosnett says that fighter planes are no longer the only defense mechanism available. If Iceland would experience a terrorist attack the US could provide assistance, but such assistance would not exclusively involve the armed forces in Keflavík.
According to the Stöd 2 report the two sides agree that Iceland should contribute more financially towards the operations of the airport of Keflavik. But the two sides have not been able to agree on the numbers.
Geir H. Haarde, minister of foreign affairs told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that it is not possible to expect a clear outcome in today’s meeting. Geir said he hoped a resolution would be reached in the next few months. Geir said that the discussions are based on the fact that the US fighter planes will remain in Iceland but that the naval base will be changed, among other things, the number of armed forces personnel will be reduced.